UFC on Fuel 9 might have moved the interest needle less than any UFC event in recent history, but the card was pretty entertaining overall. There were actually a lot of guys that I considered for the winners list, and very few stood out as guys that deserved to be on the losers list. Take Mike Easton or Robbie Peralta for example. They both fought good fights, but they just came up a bit short against strong opponents. They're not going to be taking major steps backwards because of the losses. So they're not losers in my eyes. But as I said, there were many guys that made the most of their nights, so the two categories are a little more imbalanced than usual. It's my post and I'll do what I want to! Okay, okay...onto the fighters.
Gegard Mousasi - It's a real shame that Alexander Gustafsson was unable to compete, but that might have ended up being a good thing for Gegard. Mousasi came into the bout with a badly injured knee but chose to fight nonetheless, and he was rewarded with a win. Let's be real here - i is no Alexander Gustafsson. But Mousasi got paid and now has a UFC fight under his belt. Hopefully he's not out for too long, because I still want to see him and Gustafsson face off.
Ilir Latifi - He lost a fight that he took with less than 100 hours of notice. And he had to cut 27 pounds to do it. It wasn't a pretty performance against a one-legged Mousasi, but it's hard to say that the guy deserves to be put in the losers category. He just got to fight in a UFC main event. Dana White confirmed that he will get another UFC fight. He probably made a pretty penny for stepping up. Those are all things he probably wasn't even considering a week ago, so I'd say he made out pretty well in the whole deal regardless of how the fight turned out.
Ross Pearson - He's back on track in the lightweight division with two straight wins, and he just looks so much more comfortable at 155. Ross took a little while to figure Couture out, but he most definitely got the job done once he did. He's a marketable fighter that could be a cornerstone of European cards if they want him to be. He just has keep getting better.
Matt Mitrione - I'd certainly be happy if I only had to go to work for 19 seconds and then I got to celebrate. It was pretty vital that Meathead got a win here, and he did it in the most emphatic way possible. Any talk of him possibly getting released is long gone (not that a lot of people were talking about it anyway, but three losses in a row would have opened the door). It'll be interesting to see who they put him in there against next.
Brad Pickett - One Punch was bitterly disappointed in his fight with Eddie Wineland because Wineland just wouldn't fight him. He had no such issues with Mike Easton and they ended up winning the fight of the night bonus. On top of that, Pickett kept himself in the conversation for a possible bantamweight title shot at some point.
Conor McGregor - Now that's a way to make an entrance. I honestly thought Marcus Brimage would have had more for him, but McGregor looks like a pretty special breed of fighter. His striking is really interesting to watch, and the guy oozes personality. His statements at the post-fight press conference were hilarious. I think he's a guy that fans are going to get behind very quickly.
Reza Madadi - How he survived that hellacious shot from Johnson in the first round is beyond me. But to come back and get a submission finish later in the fight? That was pretty cool. So was him running over to the crowd and hugging everybody. Despite his crazy demeanor before fights, he certainly seems like a nice, humble guy. It's no wonder than he's so popular in Sweden.
Ryan Couture - Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that Dana White got when he wanted when Pearson knocked his block off, due to White's issues with Ryan's father Randy Couture. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but he certainly missed out on an opportunity to make his own mark in the UFC. I don't think he'll be one of the one-and-done Strikeforce fighters, especially since he was in the co-main event, but he has no choice but to go out and win if he's given another opportunity.
Philip De Fries - His two UFC wins came in over 24 minutes of cage time. His three losses (all knockouts) have taken a grand total of three minutes and six seconds. That's not a good thing for your career or your brain.
Michael Johnson - His bout with Madadi was a very crucial one for his career, and he just couldn't get it done. He almost did and like I said above, I can't believe Madadi survived the first round. But his takedown defense wasn't there, and it seems that he hasn't improved much with his submission defense either. I'm not going to make the obvious "Blackzillians can't win" statement, but it doesn't seem like the camp has done much to help him improve. If anything, he has regressed in his last two fights.
Pablo Garza - He tried to use his length on the feet and had some success for a minute or so but once Brandao got a hold of him, it was domination. Garza has now lost three of four and while he probably gets another chance in the organization, it's going to be a do-or-die fight for him.